Enchanted by Your Kisses

In the Groove

My Fallen Angel

On the Edge


To The Limit
by Pamela Britton
(HQN, $6.99, G) ISBN 0-373-77187-8
I have seen advertisements for the series about NASCAR and being a long time fan, was looking forward to reading one. Imagine by delight to see To The Limit in my package for reviews. I wish I could say I was as delighted with the reading experience. While the story was enjoyable and a glimpse of the garage scene was interesting, the romance was not as engaging as I had hoped.

Kristen McKenna is an engineer for Knight Enterprises, and she is assigned to the aeronautics department with an emphasis on Fly for Less Airlines. But her boss, Matthew Knight, sends his helicopter after her and suddenly she is the new engineer for his newly purchased NASCAR team. Kristen has a history with racing, having driven open wheel cars until she was injured in a car accident that left both physical and emotional scars. She is both equally delighted and wary of her new assignment. Racing is in her blood and she is glad to be back, but she is also very aware of the good ole boys network in the racing world and hates that she will have to convince the “boys” that she is more than a person with a figure. And it doesn’t help that she finds the boss cute and the driver very attractive.

Matthew, meanwhile is equally as excited and worried. He knows little about racing and even less about becoming one of the boys. While he is a mastermind at building companies, he knows little about taking over one that requires people skills. He is also highly attracted to Kristen and recognizes that she is attracted to him too.

The driver is Todd Peters. Cute, engaging, and more than a little bit sure of himself, he can have any woman he wants. He decides he wants Kristen, especially when he realizes she isn’t falling all over herself when she is around him.

The story revolves around Kristen making some engineering changes by using a new type of lightweight metal from aircraft and her intricate relationship with both Todd and Matthew. Both are attractive and both want her badly. While she leans towards Matt, there is something about Todd. And while she finds Todd funny and sexy, there is something compelling about Matt. All three have a history and these things are woven into the story.

First, I was pleasantly surprised that the whole NASCAR scene was treated as a backdrop and the more intense details about why or how a car runs fast were left to a minimum. There was a sense of camaraderie because of the team but there were no blatant plugs or even name-dropping. This led to the question though, about the realistic or non-realistic nature of the changes that Kristen was making. This was never asked or answered, and that might bother true NASCAR enthusiasts.

But more importantly, the romance was the key to enjoying or not enjoying the book. For me, I wrestled with the need for Kristen to hover between the two men. Part of that struggle had to do with a lack of character development. Neither Todd nor Matt explained their past to the point that I cared one way or the other. Matt, particularly had some less than endearing behaviors, often taking off and leaving Kristen with little to go on. He also, at times, treated people like he was the god and they were just in his way. There was a brief comment that he had been raised in foster homes, but that did not excuse him in my mind.

The feel good ending left me with a satisfied feeling. To The Limit, however, did not engender more than tepid feelings throughout, so the best rating I can give is acceptable and three hearts. It did interest me enough to wonder about the next book in the series and I will look that one up when it is released.

--Shirley Lyons

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